The World Health Organization recommends consuming only 5% of our diet in added sugar per day. That's about 6 teaspoons(24 grams) for women, 9 teaspoons(36 grams) for men. Currently, the average American consumes 32 teaspoons(128 grams) of added sugar per day according to the USDA.
Added sugar is any sweetener; fructose, sucrose, maltose and high fructose corn syrup that are added to the foods you consume during preparation or at the table while you are eating. Even natural sugars such as syrup, honey, raw cane sugar and fruit juices are considered added sugar, if they don't naturally occur in the foods you eat.
Here's an example; eating an orange is great! It has 14 grams of naturally occurring sugar but it also has 2 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, slowing down the absorption of sugar in your body.
Compare that to a can of orange soda. With 35 grams of added sugar and no other nutrients, your body is consuming more than the recommended daily amount of added sugar in just one drink!
Now, let's think about added sugar at the table. That is any time you put sugar in your coffee, jam on your toast, honey in your oatmeal or even if you drink more than 2 oz of orange juice without the pulp. These are perfectly acceptable additions, especially if the sugars are natural, like honey. Just be mindful of quantity, remember; 6 tsp for women, 9 tsp for men, per day! I personally stopped sugaring my coffee in favor of eating honey with my fruit and cheese for dessert.
So, what naturally occurring(not added) sugars are recommended to eat? Well, that depends on what you are trying to achieve. If weight loss is your goal, stay away from foods that naturally have higher amounts of sugar like corn, grapes and bananas. Choose foods lower in natural sugar like sweet potatoes, berries and broccoli. If you are just trying to eat naturally, limit fruits to 1.5 cups per day, about 2.5 - 3 cups veggies, limit starchy veg like potatoes and corn but go ahead and eat as many leafy green or dark red vegetables as you like.